Built in 1893 by the Reading Company, this passenger terminal and company headquarters is located in the heart of downtown Philadelphia at the corner of 12th and Market Streets.
This station, with its elevated tracks, was built to replace an older grade level station located at Broad & Vine Street. It was built to better compete with the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Baltimore & Ohio. The PRR opened its Broad Street Station several blocks away at 15th and Market Streets in 1881 while the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad opened its 24th Street Station at 24th and Chestnut Streets in 1888. The trainshed was one of the largest single-span arched-roof structures in the world, though the Pennsylvania Railroad's Broad Street Station held that title after its expansion in 1892, covering 16 tracks. Unfortunately, the PRR's trainshed suffered a massive fire in 1923, and was later demolished in 1953. The Reading's trainshed is now the only such structure left in the United States.
The passenger terminal closed in 1984, when Philadelphia's Center City Commuter Tunnel opened, connecting the former stub end station to that of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Suburban Station, also a stub end station located a few blocks to the south. Today, thanks to preservation efforts, the head house survives and serves as the entrance to the Pennsylvania Convention Center (as well as additional hotel space for the neighboring Marriott Hotel). The train shed became its Grand Hall and ballroom, with meeting rooms and a hallway while the remaining space on the concourse level was turned into retail space, anchored by the Hard Rock Cafe. Below, the Reading Terminal Market thrives and passengers have access SEPTA's Market East Station. The Reading Company name adorns the balcony above the guitar and the train shed is visible at the bottom left.